Owner - Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest and Park Service
History - Cunningham Falls Reservoir was completed during the early 1970s for the Department of Natural Resources to increase recreational opportunities for visitors to Cunningham Falls State Park. Full pool was reached almost immediately thanks to Hurricane Agnes in 1972. The lake is used for swimming, boating and fishing. A campground within the State Park is available near the lake. Big Hunting Creek, one of Maryland's most popular trout fisheries and the only fly-fishing-only, catch-and-return trout fishing area, is also found in the park.
Physical/ Habitat Description - Cunningham Falls Reservoir has a maximum depth of approximately 75 feet. The upper one-third is characterized by relatively shallow (< 15 feet) soft-bottomed flats with a meandering creek channel while the lower two-thirds is characterized by steep, rocky shorelines dropping quickly into deep water. During July the oxycline/thermocline can be found at approximately 18 to 20 feet. Rocky banks, fallen trees, beaver lodges and submerged aquatic vegetation provide abundant cover. In addition, some artificial habitat (terra cotta drain tile, Christmas trees, pallet structures) has also been constructed in recent years.
Fish Species - The DNR, Fisheries Service, manages Cunningham Falls Reservoir for warmwater fish species, primarily largemouth bass and panfish (bluegill, redear sunfish, black crappie). Adult trout are stocked during the spring and fall to provide a popular put-and-take resource. Anglers can expect to fish over an abundant population of bass with many large fish present, including trophies to five and six pounds. Panfish anglers will also find fine fishing. Bluegills and redear sunfish to eight and ten inches are fairly common.
Restrictions - Gas motors are prohibited; electric motors are permitted. A paved boat ramp with dock ($2.00 launch fee) as well as a handicapped-accessible fishing pier is available. Due to the potential for low water levels during the late summer and fall, anglers with trailer boats should call the park before their trip to make sure the ramp is usable.
From Frederick: Take Route 15 North to Thurmont. At Thurmont tale Route 77 West to Cunningham Falls State Park. Turn left on Catoctin Hollow Road. You will see the lake on your right; turn right into the parking lot and boat ramp.
Contact Us - Comments or questions regarding the fishery management of Cunningham Falls Reservoir can be directed to:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Lewistown Work Center
10932 Putman Road, Thurmont, Maryland 21788
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401